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Student Research Poster Competition Winners / Abstracts - Physical Sciences

Polar and Non-Polar Cleaning Solutions
Emma Costa, Jennifer Shmukler, and Sima Zhukovski
Kingsborough Community College

Polar molecules are attracted to each other because they have a positive and negative pole, and the opposite poles attract each other. We hypothesize that the principle of "like dissolves like" will apply to stain removal. Polar stains will vanish when treated with polar substances, which is the same for non-polar stains treated with non-polar substances. We tested a few stains (mascara, red wine, pizza grease, berry juice, and red ink) on cut pieces of fabric and carpet squares. To treat the stains we used household products such as rubbing alcohol, white wine, hot water, and dishwashing liquid. Polar stains were treated with polar cleaning agents, while non-polar stains were treated with non-polar cleaning agents. Our results supported our hypothesis. The polar stains were substantially diminished when treated with polar cleaning agents, and the non-polar stains were substantially diminished when treated with non-polar cleaning agents.


Chromatography: Can Food Dye Cause Allergic Reactions?
Oshayne Davis
SUNY Albany

Chromatography is the use of various physical methods to separate or analyze complex mixtures, and it is used in food processing, chemical and bioprocessing industries, and crime labs. This project is important because candy has food dyes, and these dyes may contain allergens that affect the body. It is crucial that one knows which candies to
eat, especially if he/she has allergies. I hypothesize that the food dyes in the tested samples will contain allergens. For this experiment, I decided to use methods that involved paper chromatography. I took multiple samples of colored candy and separated the food dyes. Using these methods, I identified components of food dyes that are likely
to cause allergic reactions.


How Does the “Mpemba Effect” Work With Different Mediums?
Shelley Jain
College of Staten Island

Most people believe that cold water freezes faster than hot water, however, in some conditions this is incorrect. The purpose of this experiment is to test the “Mpemba Effect,” which proves that hot water is able to freeze faster than cold water. To test the “Mpemba Effect,” liquids such as seltzer, orange juice, milk, and water will be used. The same amount of each liquid will be boiled on a stove in a closed container. The containers will be placed in a freezer; the time it takes for the liquids to freeze will be recorded with a stopwatch. After researching the effect and properties of the “Mpemba Effect,” I hypothesize that it will prove true when applied to these liquids. This information will allow people to save freezing time and energy.


A Study of Solar Storms
Micaylah Jones
Farmingdale State College

A solar storm is when activity on the sun interferes with the earth’s magnetic field. Severe solar storms have the ability to knock out a large portion of the world’s electrical grid. A grid of magnetometers that are positioned around the world is currently in place to measure the effects of solar wind on the earth’s magnetic field. This data is
published and updated every 15 minutes in K-index, a code that is related to the maximum number of fluctuations of horizontal components observed on a magnetometer. Scientists predict that a large solar storm may occur within the next few years, with a target date of May 2013.

This study aims at measuring the magnetic field at different places and analyzing the data to find out the possibility of the occurrence of a solar storm. Experiments were conducted at different places to measure the strength and direction of the magnetic field. Data was analyzed using statistical analysis methods, and the results were used to predict the possibility of the occurrence of a solar storm in those places.


How Many Bacteria Can be Removed From Contaminated Water By Boiling it for a Given Length of Time?

Ebere Joseph
Syracuse University

Reliable sources of freshwater are becoming increasingly scarce. Varying techniques for disinfecting water have been identified—i.e., using gold to identify mercury in water, or using visible light to kill bacteria. Despite these technological advances, one of the cheapest and most effective ways to disinfect water is boiling. My experiment aims
to find the ideal length of time that contaminated water should be heated for it to be safe enough to drink.

To find the answer, water was collected from Onondaga Lake in Syracuse, New York and boiled for 30 minutes. During this process a microscope was used every two minutes to sample and record changes in the water’s bacterial content. Tap water was collected and served as a control. This data will be plotted against time to evaluate boiled water’s effectiveness in removing biological contaminants.


Making an Effective Wind Tunnel for Use in a Classroom Environment

Alex Lambros and Ella Perkins
Pratt Institute

Can an effective aerodynamic wind tunnel be created through simple construction and with the use of household materials? The unique and simple construction of a wind tunnel will be able to work in a classroom environment through simple construction techniques, and with materials found in the average household. It will be a good teaching tool for aerodynamics.


Geospatial Analysis of Lead Levels in Soils Around Our Roadways
Samir Nasim Mohammad, Aashma Dhakal, Manuela Namba, Sophia Steffen-Cruz and Olivia Yotat
Rochester Institute of Technology

Lead is a heavy metal that can cause serious health problems in humans, such as brain damage. Lead can accumulate in the human body over time, so it is critical to identify even the smallest sources of exposure. One source of lead in the environment is gasoline combustion in cars, which can leak into the soil around roadways. To study the lead levels surrounding our roadways, soil is sampled over a one meter grid along a heavily used road in Henrietta, New York. The soil is made into slurry and acidified before adding a regent. The color of the reaction indicates the parts per meter (ppm) of lead contained in the soil. Each sampling location is recorded with a GPS device, and this allows for geospatial analysis of lead levels in the soil around the roadway, and helps us to understand its effect on the health of the soil.


Monitoring the Quality of Our Drinking Water at School

Omayra Ruiz, John Davis, Kherie Ernise, Timarra Thomas and Brandi Tyler
Rochester Institute of Technology

Edison Tech High School was built on a land fill that may be polluting its water supplies. We tested the water from the school’s drinking fountains and sinks to compare it to water from taps and bottles outside of school (such as one’s home). Water testing kits will be used to detect pH, dissolved oxygen, water hardness, nitrate, phosphate, and
bacteria levels of several water samples. We hope to find whether Edison Tech’s water is polluted, and where and what are the worst places. If the water in school is polluted, then why are they allowing students to drink it? Also, why does the school not test the water more often? Drinking contaminated water might be affecting our brains, and we are supposed to be learning!


Egg Floatation

Kelvin Soeh and Bob Willie-Kweh
Mohawk Valley Community College

The purpose of this project is to make an egg float in tap water. This was done by changing the density of water. Normally, if placed in water, an egg will sink. However, an egg can be made to float if the water density is altered by adding a chemical. When conducted, this simple experiment made an interesting and exciting result. By adding table salt to the beaker of fresh water, the density of the water was modified in a way that made the egg float. We used varying amounts of salt for this experiment, and different observations and readings were recorded for the various amounts of salt. We observed that after adding the salt to the water, the egg floated because the density of the water became greater than the egg.


Projectile Motion

Kaliel Williamson
SUNY Albany

Projectile motion physics applies to virtually every aspect of life. This project sought to accurately analyze the effect of air resistance on a projectile. Knowledge of projectile science can be used for rocket science or video game programming. My findings have disproved my initial hypothesis that air resistance with a more complex equation and program does not have a large enough effect on projectile for the added cost. Depending on variables, air resistance can influence projectile up to 300%. My research showed that companies must account for air friction when considering money to be used for projectiles.



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